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Senate Votes For Congressional Oversight Of Iran Nuclear Deal

The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to give Congress the right to review any deal between the U.S. and Iran that would lift sanctions on Tehran in exchange for limiting its nuclear program.

The 98-1 vote for the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act sends it to the House, where Speaker John Boehner has said he looks forward to its passage. The chamber is expected to consider it next week.

The White House says President Obama will sign the legislation, which enjoys bipartisan support.

As The Associated Press notes:

"The vote follows months of wrangling over the legislation while the U.S. and five other nations negotiated with Iran.

"Senate passage was a victory for lawmakers who succeeded in muscling their way into the Obama administration's talks with Iran."

As we reported last month, a deal with Iran that is being hammered out between Washington and Tehran would lift sanctions in exchange for Iran limiting such things as the number of centrifuges it is using to enrich uranium.

But as the talks were ongoing, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to scuttle the negotiations. In a breach of protocol that angered the White House, Netanyahu was invited by House Speaker John Boehner to speak to Congress. In his address, Netanyahu called the developing agreement "a very bad deal."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had been one of the loudest voices speaking for a congressional role in the deal.

"The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act offers the best chance for our constituents, through the Congress they elect, to weigh in on the White House negotiations with Iran. And make no mistake, they need to have that opportunity," McConnell said.

The deal was approved after Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana "dropped his threat on Thursday to drag out consideration of the Iran measure, which enjoys strong bipartisan support. Vitter blocked the adoption of noncontroversial amendments submitted by his colleagues, but won't stand in the way of the bill's final passage, his spokesman said," according to Politico.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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